On Elvis CostelloPosted: January 21, 2013
I know what you’re all thinking: “Well, it’s about time, CK!” I can’t disagree with you. While I have been busy with the usual family stuff, with my other writing engagements (Quick plug: Check out American Songwriter and my alter ego, Jim Beviglia, and stay tuned for a big announcement concerning one of my previous lists), and with general laziness, I do miss rolling up my sleeves and getting into a new list. So I’m happy to announce that we’ll be starting up a new one beginning tomorrow.
So why Elvis Costello? Well, if I had a personal Mount Rushmore of songwriters, it would include Lennon/McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis Costello. I have always thought it was a travesty that E.C. didn’t gain as much popularity as the others, but I can assure you, having compiled this list, his song catalog is just as deep and impressive.
What’s more, he has amassed that catalog by constantly changing and evolving, fearlessly trying new things even when some of his fans might have preferred him to rewrite This Year’s Model for thirty years running. Yet unlike Dylan, who seemed to take on new personalities at different points in his career, Costello has imbued all of these distinct genres with his own songwriting personality.
But I’ll get to all of the accolades as the list goes on. First, a few notes. When putting this list together, I did include a lot of songs that weren’t included on original studio album releases. Again, like Dylan, the sheer amount and quality of these songs, which have been available on re-releases and reissues of the original albums for many, many years, were just too impactful to be ignored. The only rule was that Elvis had to have released his own version of the song at some point, even if it was just a demo.
As with the other artists I have done, I did not include songs E.C. recorded that were written by other artists. Elvis has done a lot of great cover versions through the years, so this was a tough loss, but he has more than enough self-written material to compensate.
Finally, I want to warn everyone that I cannot promise a specific amount of entries per day. When I did my Dylan countdown, it was the only thing on my writing plate, so I could devote lots of time to it. My other countdowns were already, for the most part, complete; I just edited them and added them to the site, so, again, it was easy for me to put a handful out a day. This countdown is brand new and I will be writing it and posting it all at once, so, because of the other stuff I mentioned above that occasionally places constraints on my time, there will be some days when I will be lucky to get one or two in. But I feel like it’s better to have the site active than to not write anything at all because I can’t promise a certain number. Be patient with me, and we’ll have a lot of fun with this list as we did all the others.
With that said, I’m really excited to get started. Tell your Costello fan friends about it; I’ll do some marketing of my own to try and bring some new readers aboard, as well. As always, I look forward to comments, even when you think I’m full of it or don’t know what I’m talking about. Talk to you all tomorrow, with #100 (and probably a few more) on the Elvis Costello countdown. And, of course, thanks for reading.